English Bookshops in Paris

Paris is a city of bookshops, but is even spoiled for English bookshops. It seems despite the heyday of the writers of the left bank being long over, If the number of English bookshops is anything to go by, Paris remains a firm global hub of literature. As a bookworm, or in French, rat de bibliotheque (library rat), this pleases me greatly. Are you looking for English books in Paris? Here’s where you need to go. 


Shakespeare and Company

Probably the most famous of the English Paris bookshops, Shakespeare and Company, opposite Notre Dame Cathedral, has long been attracting book fans due to it’s history as a gathering place for many of the writers that gave Paris it’s reputation as an international centre of literary endeavours, such as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound. Interestingly, Shakespeare and Company also houses aspiring writers, in exchange for helping out around the shop. It is a photogenic little building with bookshelves squeezed into every nook and cranny, and has a resident cat named ‘Aggie’. The shop is well organised and sells new books, second hand books and has a rare editions section. There is also a youth section and a small children’s reading corner at the back of the shop, and a café next door. The legend, and probably the location, make it a bit of a tourist trap though. 

37 Rue de la Bucherie, 75005

Shakespeare and Company book shop, Paris, France

Abbey Bookshop

Canadian-run AbbeyBookshop is a tiny but charming bookshop and will quickly become your favourite if, like me, you can spend hours browsing old books! More than 35,000 books are crammed into the little 18th century building on tall shallow bookshelves on wheels that double over each other. Walkways are narrow and it’s probably best avoided after a heavy lunch! The shop sells a selection of new releases, but focuses largely on second hand books. It has a young readers section, and a large American history section. Staff are very helpful if you’re trying to track something down. Great for literary treasure-hunting!

29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005

Abbey Bookshop, Paris, France

The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore

In contrast to most of the Latin Quarter bookshops, The Red Wheelbarrow shop layout is open and spacious, rather than crammed full to the rafters. The large open space is lined with tall floor to ceiling bookshelves, all neatly organised. They sell new books and have a large selection of children’s books. Staff are super helpful, offering to text you when books are in stock, and order books in. Facing the Jardin du Luxembourg, the temptation is to buy an armful of books and retire to a quiet corner of the gardens to enjoy them!

9 Rue de Medicis, 75006

The Red Wheelbarrow Bookshop, Paris, France


San Francisco Books

On a backstreet busy with restaurants and near the Jardin du Luxembourg, San Francisco Books is one of the newer second hand bookshops in Paris. The cute little red shop front conceals the sheer number of books, comics, and other treasures to be found inside, boosted no doubt by this being one of the better options to approach if you’re hoping to sell on some books. As with the other small stores, it’s usually easiest to ask staff if you’re looking for something specific, but it’s a land of opportunity if you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for.

17 Rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006



As you might expect when you walk into a shop on the chic Paris boulevard, Rue de Rivoli, Galignani is a lot more spacious than the bookstores in the Latin Quarter. Claiming to be the oldest shop offering English books on the continent, and certainly the most elegant of the English Paris Bookshops, Galignani also has a French section and, appropriately, since the shop is only a hop from the Louvre, a section dedicated to Fine Arts. With a beautiful central glass ceiling, the bookshop feels bright and airy, and you don’t need to worry about knocking books down as you move around the shop. There are even armchairs for a more relaxing browsing experience.

224 Rue de Rivoli, 75001



This British high street staple has also been on the Rue de Rivoli since 1903. With a pleasantly spacious store layout (by Paris standards, anyway), WHSmith is an especially good option for mothers with prams. In addition to books, the shop sells English magazines, DVDs, and the largest children’s section I’ve seen in any of the English Paris Bookshops. There is also a tea room, and a small section selling British foods, for those craving a taste from home. PG Tips, Marmite, anyone?

248 Rue de Rivoli, 75001

WHSmith, Rue de Rivoli, Paris, France


Bouquinerie Oxfam

Following the charity shop model, the book branch of the Paris Oxfam stores mostly sells French books but has a small selection of English second hand books, mostly consisting of fiction but they have some cookery and children’s books too.

8 Rue Saint-Ambroise 75011

Oxfam book shop, Paris, France


Bill and Rosa’s Book Room

While not strictly a shop, and not strictly in Paris (but still accessible by metro), Bill and Rosa’s BookRoom, run by Lisa and John at FUSAC, is a fantastic resource for those in Western Paris wanting to read in English. The Reading room operates mostly as a library, offering a space to read in peace and, with a membership, books can be borrowed. They also buy and sell second hand books. They operate limited opening hours so it’s best to contact them before visiting.

42 Rue du Chemin Vert, 92100 Boulogne


Which is your favourite English bookshop in Paris? Or have I missed one? Let me know in the comments!


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